The stories that ARCI company has passed through reflect the 30-year history of Georgia. These stories are full of admiration, bravery, doubts, fear, risks, devotion, misery, feeling of despair and achievements – ARCI has turned 30.
When the company made the first steps, architect Irakli Rostomashvili, the founder of “Arci”, went to military service in Russia. A letter has been left in which Irakli’s friends call for returning to their homeland:
How are you? I’m writing from work (cadet block), we are settled, work, rebuild cadet block for Rustaveli Community. Now you can write common letters to us, as we see each other very often. Be more consistent. There will be a mournful rally soon in Tbilisi dedicated to Georgia’s sovietization, on February 25th. You stay there and serve Satan. Just leave!
Now on to good news, if you get a nice deal of uniforms ot leathers, we can visit you with vodka and money, although it must worth it. Write to me any details, if it’s possible. We are looking forward to it.
Irakli Rostomashvili, Architect, Arci’s Founder:
I received funny letters. One would write one sentence, second another, etc. They sent me pictures of the object. We worked together at the project, in the same studio, we were called ”Mziuri” group. Gia Abuladze was a General Architect, leader of this group. Before there were Gia Abuladze, Irakli Maskharashvili and Bidzina Chigogidze. Then we joined me, Gaga Kiknadze, Malkkhaz Kveselava, Zura Lolashvili, Levan Mushkudiani, Giorgi Inasaridze, so that big group established.
I graduated from Polytechnic Institute in 1983, and in August 1988 unexpectedly, I was invited to the armed forces as an unexplained cause. It was a two-year term. Who did not intervene, Tengiz Abuladze, Zurab Tsereteli, Guram Mirianashvili, but couldn’t help me, so I get to Sverdlovsk.
It was the Soviet Union time when I left. Trolleybus ticket cost 4 cents, attended Sov Young Communist League meetings, Mziuri was under their patronage, as it was supposed to establish as a Kid’s City. They mentioned some nonformals, demonstrations in the letters, which was ambiguous for me. I only know of one demonstration, 10 years ago, when I was at 10th grade, we left school and ran to Rustaveli Avenue. Then they wrote to me to establish cooperative. They already had a table prepared for me. I managed to be back in 9 months and appeared in an absolutely different country.
We were an architect studio. We received orders and made projects. The taste was changing, new stores, offices, sports pitches- we did a lot of things. Then the state has donated money to the Rustaveli community and took part in the project works. The building was former Cadet block, Barrack. There was a long hall, chambered rooms, and a common toilet. They gave us one big room. In the next rooms were newly formed parties. There were some weird people coming out of there. Just below we had barricades on the Prospect and the rallies were held. We could not have something to do with each other. We argued with them a lot.
Once I arrived, parked my ”Niva” and see, three men are peeing at our doorway door. One is holding a three-colored flag. I started to scream, what are you doing, what is this, who are you? They responded and started a fight. Shortly, I took this flag away and hit that wood stick. They ran away, and I took this flag to the room. We checked and it read what ”wars” they’ve been through April 9th, Hippodrome and some. I kept this item for long.
Owning a phone was a huge luxury back them. We got it at Aghmaskomi, they gave us a number. People would enter to call. Then phone became out of order, somebody was speaking on the other line constantly, I followed the line and it turned out, someone took and plugged it into theit machine. We had a fight about that too.
Confortation of I and nonformals continued. We struggled to get one car full of block in Marneuli. The car was supposed to bring blocks at Khiliani. I’m waiting, waiting. Cell phones didn’t exist, so I had a number written on a piece of paper. I was furious as it didn’t arrive. I came back to the office and see a scene, this car is arrested by nonformals and made them threw those blocks away.
Briefly, I left the Soviet Union and came back to such a situation in about a year. ARCI turned 30 on February 18th, since 1989. We’ll tell 30-year history of Arci, in the series of articles. There’s still lot more to say…